Block users from logging on to an RDS Server [SOLVED]

Do you need to block users from logging on to an RDS Server

Problem:
You are updating an RDS server, or an application on the RDS server, but another users process is stopping your install. You need to stop access to other users to the RDS server but still be able to work on it yourself. but how?

Solution:
Open up administrative CMD
Change Logon /Disable
Then log all other users off using Task manager (users tab)

And when you are finished simply revert:
Change Logon /Enable

Sorted.

Remote Web Workspace not working [Solved]

Remote Web Workspace breaks. Alot.

In all versions of SBS (now end of life) Microsoft graced us with the ability for remote users to remote into the server to then hop accross to their own PC’s via RDP.

This was great in theory, and worked for a while, until updated servers broke this feature. The root cause was an update to .net framework, starting at version 4.5.1 which included memory checking to make sure you have at least 5% free memory.

Ok, so why the issues. Well anyone who knows Exchange, knows that the information store will use as much free memory as possible – which in turn often caused the Remote desktop Gateway service to crash, due to not having 5% free memory.

Here is the quick fix if you only have 5 mins;

– Restart the MS Exchange information store,
– Then restart/start the Remote Desktop Gateway Service

Here is the proper fix:

– Run adsiedit.msc
– Connect to: Select a well known Naming Context : [Configuration]
– Expand the following:
Configuration\Services\Microsoft Exchange\ (First Organization) \Administrative Groups\ (Exchange Administrative Group) \Servers\ (Server Name)
– Right click on CN=Information Store and click properties
– Update the values of msExchESEParamCacheSizeMin and msExchESEParamCacheSizeMax to something below 94% of your servers max ram capacity – i is in KB’s divided by a 32byte page so…

Basic maths is ==> Target Cache Size in GB = (# * 1024 * 1024) / 32

There is an excellent table over at meridian.ws which is much easier than doing the maths:
http://meridian.ws/wordpress/?p=239

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Adobe reader on Server 2016

Adobe have been rather silent recently when it comes to running reader on server 2016

Adobe reader is used by many professions, and in many capacities. It used to be one of the most commonly installed applications on business PC’s by anyone in any sector. However, Server 2016 is not supported.

https://helpx.adobe.com/reader/system-requirements.html

This makes it a nightmare for modern portable apps, RDS servers(Terminal servers) or even just file servers.

So there is a work around, however it is not recommended. The best fix for this is to scrap Adobe, and move to one off the other large PDF Vendors out there to cater to your PDF viewing needs.

Three that i have personally verified as working and are supported on server 2016 are:

  • Nitro Pro
  • Abby PDF reader
  • TinyPDF

There will however be a small percentage of us admins or superusers, that have to get this Adobe based software working.

Workaround to get Adobe reader on Server 2016

Start by using the latest installer for Windows 10,
Once installed, you may find that it will work for a while, but eventually as it updates you will no longer be able to open PDF documents using it.
To get around this you have to unfortunately turn off protected mode.

Now, i shouldn’t really need to preface this, but i will. This is not supported, nor recommended – Reader has a protected mode for a reason, disabling it is opening you to all sorts of vulnerabilities.

If you do wish to continue, open up Adobe Reader – go into Edit –> Preferences –> Security (enhanced) –>

Turn Protected mode off, and untick ‘ Enable protected mode at startup’

If you like I could not even get to the preferences panel in order to change these settings then all you need to do is open adobe reader by accessing via compatibility mode. Set this as XP (which itself does not support protected mode) – then change settings, and then change compatibility mode back off.

Let me know in the comments if this has helped you.

Get rid of the “Updates are available” pop-up

The Updates are available popup is the source of much irritation for anyone remotely administering windows 10, Server 2012 and server 2016

To get around this popup – which lets face it, is just downright inconvenient; we need to stop the exe file that produces this window from running. Code below, with comments preceded by a #

Run command prompt as administrator (elevated) and enter these commands:

#change directory to system32
cd /d "%Windir%\System32"

#Take over permissions owner to current admin
takeown /f musnotification.exe

#Change permissions to deny anyone/system running from it
icacls musnotification.exe /deny Everyone:(X)

#Take over permissions owner to current admin
takeown /f musnotificationux.exe

#Change permissions to deny anyone/system running from it
icacls musnotificationux.exe /deny Everyone:(X)

You will see form the above, that there are two processes ‘musnotificationux.exe’ and ‘musnotification.exe’ that are responsible for querying updates and notifying the end user. The great part of this fix, is that it will not interfere with any update processes themselves, just the notifications. So have no fear – updates will still continue to function as normal, just now without this troublesome pop-up.

Enable disk performance in task manager, Windows Server

Can’t see the disk performance in task manager on a Windows Server?

There is multiple factors for disk performance not showing up, including raid cards, the server being nested on a HV or running as a VM, there is a simple quick fix though;

Step 1)
Open Elevated Command Prompt

Step 2)
Start disk performance counters:
diskperf –y

disk in task manager

With any luck, that should be it now showing in Task manager, if it does not, close and re-open it for the disk performance indicators to appear.
On occasion, you may need to re-install/install the latest raid card drivers if they are missing in order for the disk performance indicators to read and run correctly.

[Resolved] Find the startup folder in windows 10

Need to find the startup folder in windows 10?

Since Windows 8, the startup folder has been an elusive beast, but fear not, this simple command will force it to reveal itself in no time at all.

1) Win + R
2) shell:startup
3) Enter/OK

find startup folder location win 10 shell:startup

Or the path for the startup folder in windows 10:
"C:\Users\%USERNAME%\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup"

startup folder in windows 10

Printer fix script – Quickly clear print queues and restart print spooler

printer fix script

Printers are the bain of any helpdesk engineer, or actually any one in IT in general!

Here is a quick printer fix script to help:

Whilst basic, (restart spooler and clear all print queues) it does in our office, at least, clear 99% of printer issues.

Copy and paste the below to a batch file (file extension .bat) and click away:

::Printer Fix Script @cannotdisplay.com
net stop spooler
pause
del /S /F “C:\Windows\System32\spool\PRINTERS\*”
del /S /F “C:\Windows\System32\spool\SERVERS\*”
net start spooler
pause
::end

It will prompt you several times to make sure you wish to delete queues and then pause at the end to show you how it went,
Any alterations or suggestions comment below!

Install multiple programs with Chocolatey

Ever had the need to install multiple programs on a new or existing PC?

We have all been there; a brand new PC out the box, a relative who needs some software installed, a re-install of windows on your own PC.
So how do we go about collating all our software, is there a nice quick way to re-install everything and get us up to date quickly. Well today we are going to go over the basics of how to install multiple programs using Chocolatey.

What is Chocolatey?

From its own site:

Chocolatey is a package manager for Windows (like apt-get or yum but for Windows). It was designed to be a decentralized framework for quickly installing applications and tools that you need.

How can I install chocolatey?

Very easily. Chocolatey is built for windows and use through Powershell, so as long as you have been updating windows, you should be able to install it seamlessly.
Either head over to the chocolatey install page, or use my favorite method of install – using Powershell itself:

iex ((New-Object System.Net.WebClient).DownloadString('https://chocolatey.org/install.ps1'))

install multiple programs with chocolatey

How to create a multiple install script:

Simply now open powershell and with your new chocolatey powers run the choco install script as follows:
choco install notepadplusplus googlechrome atom 7zip

You can find the full list of programs supported from either running a choco search in powershell, or by visiting the package repository here: https://chocolatey.org/packages

Hope this is of some help. If you are not wanting to install multiple programs, don’t want to mess with powershell as mentioned in previous posts, perhaps Ninite will be better suited for you.

What is Ransomware & how do i stop it?

Ransomware is upon us, but what is this thing, and how can i protect myself or my business from it?

So the definition and description according to Wikipedia is the below:

Ransomware is a type of malicious software that blocks access to the victim’s data or threatens to publish or delete it until a ransom is paid. Any action is possible once device or system is infected and there is no guarantee that paying the ransom will return access or not delete the data.

So how to i prevent and stop Ransomware?

Patch,
Secure,
Backup

>Patch

Patching it often the most overlooked defense in anyone’s arsenal. Patching is as simple as making sure that your windows updates are current and installed, and also checking over other software that you use on a regular basis for updates. Things to keep a keen eye out for, and PDF viewer (Adobe Acrobat, Foxit, Reader DC), Adobe Flash, M$ Office, Web browsers.

>Secure

Securing your PC from Ransomware is as easy as installing a known, tried and trusted AntiVirus software.
Other steps to look into include, adding a firewall to your network, or tighten your current routers firewall settings. Adding Malware protection, using a VPN, locking down user permissions, and a whole lot more.

>Backup

The key to recovering from an infection is a good backup strategy. Backing up is the single most useful thing you can do to prevent falling victim to a ransomware attack. With a good offline backup – or at least a backup to another PC, cloud or server location – the whole process of being infected is alot less of an issue.

There you have it, a very short and simple overview of ransomware in 2017 – if you want to know more on any of the three above steps, feel free to get in contact, or leave me a comment below.